Syria's Assad blames Israel over downing of Russian plane

Syria's Assad blames Israel over downing of Russian plane

Syria's Assad blames Israel over downing of Russian plane

Israel said on Thursday it would not halt strikes on Syria but would do more to "deconflict" them with Russian forces, after Moscow accused it of "irresponsible and unfriendly actions" that led to Syrian ground fire mistakenly downing a Russian plane.

On Monday, Syrian air defenses shot down a Russian military plane, killing 15 soldiers, after Israeli missiles had struck the coastal region of Latakia.

Israel worries that Hezbollah has been improving its capabilities and Israeli officials have said they will not allow "game-changing" weapons, such as guided missiles, to reach the group. Gen. Amikam Norkin departed for Moscow on Thursday. Russia's defense ministry initially put the blame on Israel, but Russian President Vladimir Putin later said that the incident was the result of a "chain of tragic accidental circumstances". -General Igor Konashenkov, chief spokesman of the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense, in a video statement. "The Israeli side didn't issue a notification or, to be more precise, they warned us a minute before conducting the strike", Shoigu said. "Israel also holds Iran and the Hezbollah terror organization accountable for this unfortunate incident".

The IDF also promised to cooperate with Russian Federation to help investigate the incident.

"On behalf of the Syrian people and by my name, we express our deep condolence over the fall of the Russian jet on the Mediterranean, causing the martyrdom of the Russian heroes who were doing their noble duties along with their colleagues of the Russian military forces in the fight against terrorism in Syria", Assad said in his letter of condolences to Putin.

Russian Federation has largely overlooked the sorties, which the Israelis say pose no direct threat to Moscow's ally, President Bashar Al-Assad.

Although Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged on Tuesday that there had been "a chain of tragic, accidental circumstances", he did complain to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that "Russian-Israeli agreements on preventing unsafe incidents had not been observed". "If Israel imposes a war on Lebanon, Israel will face a destiny and reality it didn't expect on any day", Nasrallah added. It expressed "sorrow" for the Russian deaths, but insisted the Russian plane had been felled by "extensive and inaccurate Syrian anti-aircraft (surface-to-air missile) fire".

The military also said it would "share all the relevant information with the Russian government to review the incident and to confirm the facts in this inquiry".

But when pressed during the interview, Lieberman avoided asserting Israeli "freedom of action" over Syria, a term he has used in the past. As the Post's Seth J. Frantzman noted in an analysis, Russia could have blamed Syrian air defense for the mistake, but these defenses are Russian-made, so blaming the equipment would have implied a problem with the technology.

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